M. Nodia Institute of Geophysics   


Georgia, like the whole Caucasus, is a geologically complex region with high seismic activity. That is why the materials about the seismic events in Georgia and the surrounding regions, in particular the strong earthquakes that caused the great devastation, have been known since ancient times. However, such materials were mostly descriptive. From the beginning of the 19th century, the trend of quantitative assessment of geophysical events intensified (determination of the voltage of the Earth’s magnetic field, acceleration of gravity, determination of basic parameters related to meteorological events, etc.). In 1844, the first magnetic observatory in the Caucasus and one of the first in Russia, the Magneto-Meteorological Observatory was established in Tbilisi, which played a fundamental role in the development of geophysical science. The observatory has been headed by eminent scientists since its inception: A. Cooper, A. Philadelphia, P. Moritz, G. Abikhi, I. Milbern, S. Glasgow and others. A powerful and authoritative scientific center was established as an observatory, where geomagnetic, seismological, meteorological, gravimetric observations were made and the received materials were sent to the world’s physical observatories as printed products. In the following period, the observatory was moved first to Karsan and then to Dusheti.

Thus, a real opportunity to create an institution (institute) of geophysical profile was gradually prepared and created. In 1932, in order to provide such an organization with personnel, on the initiative of the Observatory,  the so-called Academy of Sciences of the USSR sent the young staff of the observatory-masters to the accelerated postgraduate course: B. Balavadze, G. Tvaltvadze, V. Kebuladze, A. Tskhakaia and the staff of the Mining and Metallurgical Institute – A. Bukhnikashvili and A. Abakelia.

On November 1, 1933, by the decision of the Presidium of the Transcaucasian Branch of the Academy of Sciences of the former USSR, Academy of Sciences and the Department of Georgia of October 26, 1933, the Tbilisi Geophysical Institute of the Georgian Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences was established.

The creation of the Geophysical Institute coincided with the period when the state’s main task was to identify and assimilate the country’s natural resources. It was necessary to expand the mineral-raw material base, for which geophysical methods of exploration of minerals, study of seismic conditions of the area were given priority. Georgia, with its geological conditions, was a natural laboratory for the development of geophysical research. Professor P. Nikiforov was appointed the first director of the institute. The deputy heads were professors N. Muskhelishvili and M. Nodia, learned secretary A. Tskhakaia. It should be noted that the Department of Theoretical and Mathematical Geophysics of the Institute was headed by Professor N. Muskhelishvili. The institute also included a seismic station at the observatory.

In 1941, on the basis of the order of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Georgian SSR, the Institute of Physics and Geophysics was established on the basis of the Institute of Geophysics in connection with the establishment of the Georgian Academy of Sciences. The Institute was headed by Professor M. Nodia.

On December 1, 1950, the Institute of Physics and Geophysics was divided into two institutes – Physics and Geophysics. Professor B. Balavadze was appointed director of the Institute of Geophysics.

In 1953, in connection with B. Balavadze’s trip to Moscow in order to continue his doctoral studies, Professor A. Bukhnikashvili was appointed director of the institute. He headed the institute until 1972.

In 1956, the institute was transferred to the Dusheti Magnetic Observatory and the Space Station. Dusheti Geophysical Observatory is included in the World Network of Geomagnetic Observatories. There are ongoing observations of the Earth’s magnetic field parameters. The main advantage of the observatory’s data is its continuity for more than 160 years, which is of great importance in the ongoing research of various problems in the fields of geophysics on a planetary scale. Since 2006, with the help of Japanese scientists, observations at the observatory have been fulfilled by use of modern digital measuring instruments.

The Experimental Cosmophysical Complex of Space Beams is listed on the World Space Network as a support station. The data from the Cosmophysical Observatory, along with similar data from other countries in the world, are available on the World Wide Web and on the Internet.

In 1957, an anti-hail base was set up at the institute in the village of Ruispiri, as a stationary expedition. In 1961, the first hail service in the former Soviet Union was established with the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia, which was preceded by research and large-scale experiments conducted by a group of scientists from the Institute of Geophysics. In 1969, in order to develop and implement the means of influencing the hail processes, the heads of the works, Professor A. Bukhnikashvili and A. Kartsivadze received the USSR State Prize in Science and Technology. In connection with the mentioned works, in 1985, along with other scholars of the USSR Council of Ministers, Mr. A. Kartsivadze was awarded. Moreover, A. Kartsivadze became the co-author of the scientific discovery, which refers to the active crystallization of excess water systems in the atmosphere.

Since the 1960s, the Institute has been using geophysical methods to study the tectonic processes taking place in the area of ​​large engineering facilities under construction on the territory of Georgia. Since 1967, the Institute has operated the Earth’s Dynamics Department, now the Enguri Dam International Geophysical Polygon, where continuous geophysical monitoring of the tense-deformation processes of rocks at the rocky base of a high dam is carried out – led by Professor V. Abashidze. Based on these studies, since 1996, the Council of Europe has established the European Center for Geodynamic Risks in High Dams in Georgia headed by Professor Tamaz Chelidze. The Center, in addition to these interesting studies, is committed to engaging in ongoing international natural and man-made risk researches.

In 1963, the Caucasus Zonal Center for the Unified Seismic Observation Network was established at the institute, which coordinated seismic observations in the Caucasus, and as a result of their joint efforts, the Caucasus Seismological Bulletin was published annually.

In 1964, the Earth Observatory with a unique tunnel was launched at the institute, where continuous observations of gravitational force changes, erosion and deformation of the Earth’s surface are ongoing. The Observatory was the International Center for Socialist Countries, headed by Dr. K. Kartvelishvili.

In the same years, the Institute built an experimental complex in atmospheric physics, a thermobaric camera, which is unique in its power and capabilities throughout the former USSR, where research is being conducted on the modeling of atmospheric processes.


By 1967, the structure of the institute included 11 scientific departments:

  1. Department of Earth Magnetism. Head – N. Katsiashvili
  2. Department of Earthquake Physics. Head – E. Bius
  3. Department of Regional Seismology with Seismic Station Box. Head – Al. Tskhakaia
  4. Department of Seismology. Head – G. Tvaltvadze
  5. Department of Gravimetry. Head – B. Balavadze
  6. Department of Geoelectricity. Head – F. Kebuladze
  7. Department of Radiometry. Head – I. Chkhenkeli
  8. Department of Rock Physics. Head – L. Chanturishvili
  9. Department of Atmospheric Physics. Head – A. Balabuev
  10. Department of Cloud Physics and Active Impact. Head – A. Kartsivadze
  11. Department of Cosmic Rays. Head – V. Koiava


The total number of employees of the institute was 227, including 117 scientists. An employee, 5 of whom are PhDs and 28 Candidates of Sciences.


In 1972-87, the institute was again headed by Academician Beno Balavadze, who, despite his old age, still continued his active scientific work.

In 1977, the institute’s new seismological observatory – Tbilisi – was put into operation.

In 1975 at the Institute, under Academician M. Aleksidze’s leadership, the Department of Computational Geophysics was established, which gave the greatest impetus to the introduction of mathematical methods in geophysical research in the former Soviet republics.


At this time, the institute had 13 departments and 8 laboratories, which were united in 4 sectors according to fields (total number of employees 377. including 158 scientists, 4 doctors, 49 candidates).

  1. Sector of Geomagnetism and Ionosphere (1975) Dr. A. Khantadze
  2. Division of Geomagnetism. Candidate of Sciences A. Chkhetia;
  3. Ionosphere Lab. Dr. A. Khantadze;
  4. Dusheti Geophysical Observatory Candidate of Sciences V. Matsaberidze.
  5. Radiometry and rocks sector – Candidate of Sciences V. Kebuladze
  6. Division of Geoelectricity and Electrometry. Candidate of Sciences V. Kebuladze;
  7. Division of Rock Physics. T. Chelidze;
  8. Division of Radiometry. Candidate of Sciences Sh. Chkhenkeli;
  9. Laboratory of Engineering Geophysics. Candidate of Sciences D. Tsitsishvili.

III. Gravimetry Sector Acad. B. Balavadze;

  1. Division of Gravimetry-Bametsn. Candidate of Sciences Kote Kartvelishvili;
  2. Laboratory of Earth Circulations. Candidate of Sciences Karlo Kartvelishvili;
  3. Laboratory of the slow movements of the Earth’s crust. Candidate of Sciences V. Abashidze;
  4. Seismology and Seismology Sector. Candidate of Sciences D. Sikharulidze
  5. Earthquake Physics Division. Candidate of Sciences D. Sikharulidze;
  6. Division of Regional (hereinafter referred to as Regional) Seismology. Candidate of Sciences O. Gotsadze;
  7. Division of Applied Seismology. Candidate of Sciences G. Murusudze;


In 1979, in order to strengthen the scientific-research work on the problems of forecasting strong earthquakes, by the decision of the Government of Georgia, a trial-methodological seismological party was established at the institute, on the basis of which the head of the experimental-methodological expedition (SMG) Prof. G. Shengelaia. In 1996, on the basis of the SMG, by the order of the President of Georgia, the National Seismic Protection Service was established, which in 2006 was separated from the Institute of Geophysics under the name of the Seismic Monitoring Center. It was handed over to the Seismic Observatory and the National Seismic Network.

By 1985, the Institute of Geophysics was the largest in the history of its existence.

The total number of the employees was 635; among them were 14 Doctors of Sciences, 76 Candidates of Sciences, 1 – Full Member of the Georgian Academy of Sciences, 1 – Corresponding Member.

In 1987, the General Assembly elected Academician M. Aleksidze – one of the brilliant representatives of the geophysical science of Georgia, as the Director of the Institute.

In 1989, at the Institute for the Fundamental and Applied Works of the Black Sea Basin Ecological Systems, the Department of Sea Dynamics was opened by Professor A. Kordzadze. The department is the only one in the Caucasus region where, based on mathematical modeling, the physical and ecological processes taking place in the marine-terrestrial atmosphere system are studied using experimental data.

In 1992, the General Assembly of Scientists elected Professor Tamaz Chelidze, Doctor of Chemistry, Corresponding Member of the Academy. Professor Tamaz Chelidze held this position until 2006.

In 1992, by the decision of the Government of the Republic of Georgia, the Institute of Geophysics of the Georgian Academy of Sciences was named after the famous Georgian scientist, the founder of Geophysical Science in Georgia, Doctor of Physics and Mathematics, Professor Mikheil Nodia.

In 2004 by the Resolution 58 of the Government of Georgia, the Mikheil Nodia Institute of Geophysics was renamed the LEPL Mikheil Nodia Institute of Geophysics, which came under the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia. Nugzar Glonti, Ph.D., has been elected Director of the Scientific Council by the Institute.

In 2007, on the basis of the Georgian Space Agency, the Center for Geophysical Research was established at the Institute of Geophysics – headed by Academician J. Lominadze. Through the direct efforts of the Centre’s staff, the Institute of Geophysics is actively involved in the projects of the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia and the Georgian National Science Foundation: Space Odyssey and Astronomy for School.


The Institute of Geophysics, throughout Georgia, regularly conducts important expeditions to address engineering archeological and ecological issues, in particular, in the geophysical surveys of several areas in the geophysical surveys of the areas allocated for the construction of Enguri Hydroelectric Power Station, Zhinvali Hydroelectric Power Station and Khudoni Hydroelectric Power Station), Many covered archeological monuments were discovered in the territory of Armaztsikhe, the nature of heavy metal pollution was established in Marneuli district, water exploration works were carried out in Bolnisi district, the conditions of corrosion of Azerbaijan-Georgia gas pipeline were examined; Based on the geomagnetic surveys conducted in and around Ureki, a hypothesis has been put forward, According to which the variations of the magnetic field can have a positive effect on the living organism, if it is not accompanied by short-period pulsations accompanied by global magnetic storms and very low frequency electromagnetic radiation. 22 volumes of the periodical English-language magazine – Georgian Geophysical Society, which is sent to many countries abroad, have been established and have already been published at the Institute. Throughout the existence of the institute, 36 doctoral and 220 candidate dissertations have been defended by the staff. For years, the institute has had a Scientific Council for Doctoral and Candidate Degrees. 6 employees of the Institute have received the State Prize of Georgia, 9 employees have been awarded the Order of Merit. Abroad, up to 20 employees of the institute were sent to search for expeditionary works in the 70s and 80s of the last century.

The Institute of Geophysics has close scientific contacts (joint topics, expeditions, reading lectures, scientific leadership, consulting, etc.) with scientific centers in many foreign countries (France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Britain, Greece, USA, Bulgaria, Russia, Ukraine).

For the best work published in the field of geophysics, the institute has appointed Academician M. Aleksidze Prize and Youth Prize. Since 1993, the staff of the institute has participated in many international (INTAS, NATO, INCO-COPERNICUS, ISTC, IAEA, ISTU) and local grant projects.


Since 2007, the structure of the Mikheil Nodia Institute of Geophysics includes 7 scientific sectors and 1 scientific center:

  1. Applied and Experimental Geophysics – Head:   T. Chelidze ;
  2. Seismology, Seismic Hazard and Disaster Risk Sector – Head: N. Tsereteli;
  3. Sector of Geophysical Fields Dynamics and Computational Geophysics – Head: T. Macharashvili
  4. Earth Physics and Geomagnetism Head: –  T. Kiria ;
  5. Tasks of Hydrogeophysics and Geothermal – Head: G. Melikadze;
  6. Dusheti Geophysical Observatory – Head: R. Gogua
  7. Cosmophysical Observatory – Head: I. Tuscia
  8. Mathematical Modeling of the Geophysical Processes of the Sea and the Atmosphere – Head: D. Demetrashvili
  9. Space Research Center – Head: D. Zilpimiani


Scientific researches in the following scientific subdivisions are successfully continued in the following scientific subdivisions: Seismo-regionalization of the territory of Georgia, study of earthquake predecessors, active impact on harmful meteorological events, search and engineering geophysical training, semantic data processing and staging, study and forecasting of hydrothermodynamic and ecological processes in the atmosphere and the Black Sea based on mathematical modeling. Research on Sun-Earth Relationships, Ecological Geophysics, Archaeogeophysical Studies. The development of a new direction – hydrogeophysics – is envisaged.